AI, ChatGPT and Christian Parenting

Say what you will, but there are two types of people in the world… people who play with all things AI and people who were scarred by the movie 2001 A Space Odyssey and want nothing to do with it. Regardless of your personal feelings about AI, your children have probably already been exposed to it.

Whether or not AI is helpful to mankind (for our discussion) is almost irrelevant. The difficulty with any new technology, fad or other creation is deciding how Christians should interface with it (if at all). It’s made all the more difficult, because new things are often marketed by creators to make them look as appealing and helpful as possible so they can make the most money possible before anyone realizes there are problems with the product.

It is also problematic, because as Christians, we understand God knew AI would exist when He created scripture. Instead of addressing every invention that would be created over thousands of years and how He wants us to interact with each, however, God gave us commands and principles that were both specific and general – making them applicable regardless of era or location.

So how does all of this apply to AI? A teacher recently told me that students are cheating using ChatGPT without being fully aware they are cheating. Why? Because over the years parents, teachers and other adults had focused on specific behaviors instead of overarching commands and principles. So instead of explaining to students that having anyone or anything write parts or all of your essay is considered cheating, they were just told they couldn’t purchase or copy a paper someone else had written. When faced with AI – that doesn’t neatly fit into the description of specific out of bound behaviors they have been taught – they believe they can use it to practically write entire papers for them while still not realizing they are cheating.

As a Christian parent, you probably use lots of real world examples when teaching your children about God’s commands and principles. It’s important – especially as they age – to emphasize the heart of the command or principle and have your kids generate lots of examples. The reality is that you will never be able to list every possible way your children could lie (by the way, cheating is one of them), but you can help them understand the heart of the command so well that when they see a new technology or creation instead of matching it to some check list, they are able to look for the heart of it and measure that to God’s commands and principles.

This difference in how you approach teaching them how God wants them to live their lives may seem subtle at first. With an ever changing world, however, your children need to know how to obey God regardless of what they encounter.

Published by

Thereasa Winnett

Thereasa Winnett is the founder of Teach One Reach One and blogger at Parenting Like Hannah. She holds a BA in education from the College of William and Mary. She has served in all areas of ministry to children and teens for more than thirty years and regularly leads workshops for ministries and churches. She has conducted numerous workshops, including sessions at Points of Light’s National Conference on Volunteering and Service, the National Urban Ministry Conference, Pepperdine Bible Lectures, and Lipscomb’s Summer Celebration. Thereasa lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Greg, where she enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and cooking.

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